Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine

Zelenskyy strikes a defiant tone after latest Russian missile strikes

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks via video link during a meeting of ministers of defence at Ramstein Air Base in Germany to discuss how to help Ukraine defend itself, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine January 20, 2023. 

Ukrainian Presidential Press Service | Reuters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy took a defiant tone after Moscow unleashed fresh missile strikes on his country, insisting Kyiv will defeat a Russian invasion nearing its one-year mark.

“Another attempt by a terrorist state to intimidate us with a massive missile strike has recently been defeated, just as the whole of Russia will soon be defeated,” he said in a post on his Telegram account, according to an NBC News translation.

Russia launched missiles at various targets in Ukraine in a strike the head of Ukraine’s armed forces called “massive.”

— Jacob Pramuk

Russia is slowing down food shipments from Ukraine, USAID says

A combine harvester of Continental Farmers Group agricultural company harvests wheat on August 4, 2022 in the Ternopil region of Ukraine. 

Alexey Furman | Getty Images

A U.S. official warned that Russia is slowing down urgent food supplies from Ukraine through a brokered humanitarian sea corridor.

There are 121 ships loaded with agricultural products waiting to leave Ukrainian ports through a U.N.-backed deal to ease Russia’s naval blockade, Erin McKee, the assistant administrator for Europe and Eurasia at the U.S. Agency for International Development, told the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

McKee added that Russia’s war in Ukraine and its slowdown of food supply ships has exacerbated global food insecurity.

“In 2022, over 205 million people were in urgent need of humanitarian food assistance which was an 8% increase over 2021,” McKee said.

Before the war, Ukraine and Russia accounted for almost a quarter of global grain exports. Those shipments came to a severe halt for nearly six months until the U.N.’s Black Sea Grain Initiative was signed.

— Amanda Macias

Three ships leave Ukrainian ports under Black Sea Grain Initiative

Ships, including those carrying grain from Ukraine and awaiting inspections, are seen anchored off the Istanbul coastline on November 02, 2022 in Istanbul, Turkey.

Chris Mcgrath | Getty Images

Three vessels carrying 49,100 metric tons of grain and other food products have left Ukrainian ports, the organization overseeing the export of agricultural products from the country said.

The ships are destined for Italy, Turkey and Libya and are carrying wheat and barley.

The Black Sea Grain Initiative, a deal brokered in July among Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations, eased Russia’s naval blockade and saw three key Ukrainian ports reopen.

So far, more than 675 ships have sailed from Ukrainian ports.

— Amanda Macias

More than 20,000 war crimes and human rights abuses documented in Ukraine, USAID says

A war crimes prosecutor examines the damage in a destroyed building, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, following shelling in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, in this handout picture released on July 31, 2022.

Press Service of the Mykolaiv Regional Prosecutor’s Office | Via Reuters

The U.S. Agency for International Development and its partners have documented over 20,000 incidences of alleged war crimes and human rights abuses in Ukraine in the last year, said Erin McKee, the USAID assistant administrator for Europe and Eurasia.

She presented the figure in an opening statement before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s hearing on “Countering Russian Aggression: Ukraine and Beyond.”

USAID began investigating war crimes in 2014 after Russian forces illegally overtook Crimea and large parts of the Donbas.

The Kremlin has denied that its forces target civilians or have committed war crimes in Ukraine.

— Amanda Macias

German citizen accused of being a Russia spy arrested in Germany

Germany’s federal prosecutor’s office said it issued an arrest warrant earlier this week against a German national for allegations that he “transmitted information that he had obtained in the course of his professional activity at the Federal Intelligence Service to a Russian intelligence service.”

The individual, who was referred to as Arthur E., was arrested by officers of the Federal Criminal Police Office at Munich Airport after arriving from the United States.

“The accused is strongly suspected of complicity in treason,” according to the press release.

He is currently detained ahead of his trial.

— Amanda Macias

Biden considers a trip to Europe as one-year mark of war approaches

U.S. President Joe Biden answers a reporter’s question flanked by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin as he departs after delivering remarks on continued U.S. support for Ukraine in the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 25, 2023. 

Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters

U.S. President Joe Biden is considering a trip to Europe near the one-year anniversary of Russia’s war in Ukraine, NBC News reported.

Biden may travel to Poland — which borders Ukraine to the west — among other locations under consideration, three administration officials and a person familiar with the discussions told NBC. The plans are not finalized.

The one-year mark of Russia’s invasion will come on Feb. 24.

Through the trip, Biden aims to show support for Ukraine, according to NBC. He took a significant step in ramping up support for Ukraine’s military on Wednesday, when he announced the U.S. would send M1A1 Abrams tanks to the country.

Read the NBC story here.

— Jacob Pramuk

Turkey says it is ‘meaningless’ to restore NATO dialogue with Sweden, Finland

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu attends a news conference as he meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Ankara, Turkey June 8, 2022. 

Umit Bektas | Reuters

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said it was “meaningless” to hold a trilateral meeting with Sweden and Finland to discuss their NATO bids after protests this month in Stockholm.

Speaking at a news conference, Cavusoglu also said there is no offer to evaluate Sweden’s and Finland’s NATO membership separately.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson has said his country wanted to restore NATO dialogue with Turkey after Ankara indefinitely postponed trilateral talks with Sweden and Finland over their membership.

— Reuters

U.S. Treasury imposes sanctions against Russian paramilitary firm Wagner Group

A mural praises the Russian Wagner group and its mercenaries fighting in Ukraine on March 30, 2022 in Belgrade, Serbia.

Pierre Crom | Getty Images

The Biden administration announced a slew of fresh sanctions and additional measures targeting Russia’s private military firm, the Wagner Group, saying it’s engaged in an “ongoing pattern of serious criminal activity” in Ukraine, the Central African Republic and Mali.

The Treasury Department identified the Wagner Group, led by Putin crony Yevgeny Prigozhin, as a “significant transnational criminal organization.”

Last week, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters at the White House that U.S. intelligence estimates indicate the Wagner Group has at least 50,000 personnel in Ukraine, most of them recruited for the fight from Russian prisons.

Read the full story here.

— Amanda Macias

U.S. Senate committee holds hearing on Russia’s war

[The hearing and stream have ended.]

The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on what it called “countering Russian aggression,” both in Ukraine and elsewhere.

Key officials at the State Department, Pentagon and U.S. Agency for International Development testified.

U.S. senators have largely backed the Biden administration as it has sent weapons and humanitarian aid to Ukraine during the 11 months of the Russian invasion. The effort intensified Wednesday as the U.S. announced it would send M1A1 Abrams tanks to bolster Ukraine’s defense.

— Jacob Pramuk

4 with Russian flags kicked out of Australian Open

A Russian flag is seen during the first round match between Kamilla Rakhimova of Russia and Kateryna Baindl of Ukraine is played at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Monday, Jan. 16, 2023.

Asanka Brendon Ratnayake | AP

Four people were kicked out of the Australian Open after displaying Russian flags — which have been banned from Melbourne Park — and threatening security guards, police and Tennis Australia said Thursday.

A Victoria Police spokeswoman said the four have not been charged but were evicted from the site.

The flags, at least one of which included an image of Vladimir Putin, were being waved during a gathering outside of Rod Laver Arena after Novak Djokovic beat Russian player Andrey Rublev in straight sets in the quarterfinals of the year’s first Grand Slam tennis tournament Wednesday night.

“A small group of people displayed inappropriate flags and symbols and threatened security guards following a match on Wednesday night and were evicted. … Players and their teams have been briefed and reminded of the event policy regarding flags and symbols and to avoid any situation that has the potential to disrupt,” Tennis Australian said in a statement. “We continue to work closely with event security and law enforcement agencies.”

— Associated Press

Stoves given to needy Ukrainian civilians in Kharkiv

Volunteers carry stoves that were brought to the humanitarian aid center to be distributed to civilians in need in Kharkiv, Ukraine. Due to displacement from Russia’s war, 650 stoves will be distributed to Ukrainians.

Volunteers carry stoves that were brought to the humanitarian aid center to be distributed to civilians in need and prepared by Finnish metallurgists by collecting aid in Kharkiv, Ukraine on January 25, 2023. 

Eugene Titov | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Volunteers carry stoves that were brought to the humanitarian aid center to be distributed to civilians in need and prepared by Finnish metallurgists by collecting aid in Kharkiv, Ukraine on January 25, 2023. 

Eugene Titov | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Volunteers carry stoves that were brought to the humanitarian aid center to be distributed to civilians in need and prepared by Finnish metallurgists by collecting aid in Kharkiv, Ukraine on January 25, 2023. 

Eugene Titov | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Eugene Titov/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

First tanks, now fighter jets? Ukraine’s confident it can have both

A Belgian F-16 jet fighter takes part in the NATO Air Nuclear drill “Steadfast Noon” at the Kleine-Brogel air base in Belgium on October 18, 2022.

Kenzo Tribouillard | Afp | Getty Images

The dust has barely settled since the decision by the U.S. and Germany to supply battle tanks to Ukraine, but talk has already turned to the possible use of other firepower, namely, fighter jets.

Ukraine has made no secret of the fact that it would like to receive fighter jets — such as the F-16 Fighting Falcon, a multirole fighter aircraft developed for the U.S. Air Force — from its allies to help it fight Russia.

Kyiv appears confident that, as with Western tanks, it will eventually be given F-16s too.

“We will get F-16s,” Yuriy Sak, an advisor to Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov, told CNBC Thursday.

Sak said Kyiv expected there to be a similar approach to the tanks issue — essentially allies reluctant to give Ukraine fighter jets before an eventual agreement to do so, but said there was a hope that, in this case, the decision will be faster. “We hope that there will be no same mistakes, because we will get the F-16s,” he said.

Read the whole story here

— Holly Ellyatt

Britain wants Challenger tanks in Ukraine by end of March, minister says

A Challenger 2 main battle tank on display for The Royal Tank Regiment Regimental Parade, on Sept. 24, 2022, in Bulford, England.

Finnbarr Webster | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Britain hopes the Challenger 2 tanks it is supplying to Ukraine will arrive in the country at the end of March, defence department minister Alex Chalk said on Thursday.

Earlier this month, Britain said it would send 14 of its main battle tanks along with additional artillery support to Ukraine.

“The intention is that it will be at the end of March,” he told parliament in response to a question asking when the tanks would arrive in Ukraine.

He said between now and then, Ukrainian forces would be trained intensively on how to operate and maintain the vehicles.

Other nations including the United States and Germany have also subsequently committed to supply tanks in moves hailed by Kyiv as a potential turning point in its battle to repel Russia’s invasion.

— Reuters

Tanks for Ukraine tantamount to West’s ‘direct involvement’ in the war, Kremlin says

“Zelensky knows when all this can end, it can all end tomorrow if [Kyiv] wishes,” Russian Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov told reporters Thursday.

Mikhail Svetlov | Getty Images News | Getty Images

The Kremlin said Thursday that it sees the sending of Western tanks to Ukraine as tantamount to the West’s “direct involvement” in the war.

Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday that “European capitals and Washington are constantly making statements that sending various weapons systems, including tanks, to Ukraine does not mean the involvement of these countries or NATO in the fighting in Ukraine. We strongly disagree with this,” he told reporters, according to a NBC News translation.

“In Moscow, everything that NATO and the capitals I just mentioned are doing is perceived as direct involvement in the conflict. And we see that it is growing,” he added.

Russia reacted furiously to announcements by Germany and the U.S. on Wednesday that they would both be sending dozens of their respective tanks to Ukraine. Both Berlin and Washington insisted that the provision of offensive weaponry did not represent a threat to Russia.

— Holly Ellyatt

Russia launches ‘massive’ missile strike, Ukraine says

Broken tree limbs and other debris litter the ground at an industrial area in Kyiv following a morning missile strike that left one person dead and two wounded on January 26, 2023 in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Spencer Platt | Getty Images

The Commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s armed forces, Valerii Zaluzhny, described missile attacks on the country this morning as “massive,” saying Russia had used a variety of air and sea-based missiles.

“The enemy launched 55 air and sea-based missiles (X-101, X-555, X-47 “Kinzhal”, “Kalibr”, X-59) from Tu-95, Su-35, MiG-31K aircraft and ships from the Black Sea,” Zaluzhny said in a Telegram post Thursday.

 “The forces and means of air defense of the Armed Forces of Ukraine destroyed 47 cruise missiles, 20 of them in the area of ​​the capital,” he noted, adding that three of the four Kh-59 guided air missiles did not reach their targets.

A general view of the damaged residential buildings in the village of Gorenka in the Kyiv region.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The commander said Russia’s goal — of “putting psychological pressure on Ukrainians and the destruction of critical infrastructure” — had not changed.

CNBC was unable to verify the details in Zaluzhny’s post. Various Ukrainian officials reported missile strikes in Ukraine Thursday, a day after Ukraine’s allies agreed to send Western tanks to the country.

— Holly Ellyatt

20 missiles shot down over Kyiv’s airspace, official says

Kyiv city’s military administration said Thursday that 20 missiles of various types had been detected in Kyiv’s airspace this morning but that all “aerial targets were destroyed” thanks to air defense units.

A 55-year-old man died as a result of the fall of rocket parts, and two others were injured and hospitalized.

Serhiy Popko, head of the Kyiv City Military Administration, added that the air alert is continuing due to the take-off of a “potential carrier of Kinzhal missiles – a MiG-31 fighter jet and an A-50 control plane in Belarus.”

“Stay in shelters until the alarm is over,” Popko warned.

— Holly Ellyatt

Russian strikes on Odesa a response to UNESCO decision, official says

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Thursday that Russia’s missile strike on the southern port city was President Vladimir Putin’s response to UNESCO’s decision to the put the city on its list of endangered World Heritage sites.

The World Heritage Committee at UNESCO, the United Nation’s cultural agency, decided to inscribe the historic center of Odesa on the World Heritage List on Wednesday.

The Ukrainian state flag flies on a pedestal where the monument to Empress Catherine the Great of Russia, also known as Monument to the founders of Odesa, once stood on Jan. 8, 2023 in Odesa, Ukraine.

Global Images Ukraine | Getty Images News | Getty Images

UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said Odesa was “a free city, a world city, a legendary port that has left its mark on cinema, literature and the arts” and thus had been “placed under the reinforced protection of the international community.”

“While the war continues, this inscription embodies our collective determination to ensure that this city, which has always surmounted global upheavals, is preserved from further destruction.”

— Holly Ellyatt

One dead, two injured in Russian missile strikes on Kyiv

After missile strikes targeting Ukraine’s capital city Thursday morning, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said one person is known to have died and two others injured.

“As a result of a rocket hit into a non-residential building in the Holosiivskyi district, there is currently information about one dead and two injured. The injured were hospitalized by medics,” he said on Telegram.

There have also been updates from the cities of Odesa and Vinnytsia, to the southwest of Kyiv, with reports of damage to critical energy facilities.

Civilians take shelter inside a metro station during air raid alert in the centre of Kyiv on December 13, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Dimitar Dilkoff | Afp | Getty Images

Yuri Kruk, head of the Odesa District Military Administration, said on Telegram Thursday that Russian forces continued “to fire missiles at the territory of Ukraine from the sky and the sea.”

“There is already information about damages to 2 critical energy infrastructure facilities in Odesa. There are no casualties,” he said, asking civilians to remain in shelters.

In Vinnytsia, the head of the regional military administration Serhiy Borzov posted onTelegram that “there are hits of the enemy’s missiles in Vinnytsia [region]. There are no casualties. All operative services work on site.”

— Holly Ellyatt

After tanks decision, Russia lashes out with missile strikes

Air raid warnings are sounding out across Ukraine on Thursday morning as the country braced itself for more missile strikes from Russia. Emergency power outages have been introduced in Kyiv city and the wider region as well as Odesa, Dnipropetrovsk and Zhytomyr while the threat of missile strikes is live.

Kyiv’s Mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Telegram that there had been explosions in a part of the city as he warned civilians to shelter while Serhiy Popko, the head of the Kyiv City Military Administration, commented earlier on Telegram that Russian forces had “launched more than 15 cruise missiles in the direction of Kyiv.”

Popko said that “thanks to the excellent work of the air defense, all air targets were shot down.” He warned that the danger of air strikes had not passed, however.

A resident of Kyiv uses the subway as a bomb shelter on Dec. 5, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Global Images Ukraine | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Emergency blackouts had been introduced in the city Thursday, with the city’s military administration saying “the reason is the threat of a missile attack. Early power outages will help avoid potential damage to critical infrastructure facilities.”

Moscow is fuming after Ukraine was given a big boost by its allies Wednesday after the U.S. and Germany agreed to send battle tanks to the country for the first time. Russia reacted angrily, with officials saying it was “extremely dangerous” and crossed “red lines.”

Serhii Bratchuk, the press person the head for the Odessa RMA (regional military administration) said earlier this morning that “around six Tu-95 aircrafts (preliminary from the Murmansk region) took off and fired missiles at the port city. We expect more than 30 rockets, which have already begun to appear in several areas. Air defense is working, there is no information about drones yet,” Bratchuk said.

CNBC was unable to immediately verify the reports.

— Holly Ellyatt

Japan’s Prime Minister to consider visit to Ukraine: Kyodo News

Prime Minister of Japan, Fumio Kishida speaks at the start of the tenth annual review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty at U.N. headquarters on August 01, 2022 in New York City. Japan’s average minimum wage is set to rise at a record pace this year, the government said on Tuesday, a positive development for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s efforts to cushion households from global commodity inflation.

Spencer Platt | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said during a parliamentary session that he would consider visiting Ukrainian capital Kyiv, depending on “various circumstances,” Kyodo News reported.

“Nothing has been decided at this point, but we will consider,” Kishida was quoted as saying.

The prime minister’s response came after a ruling party lawmaker urged him to follow the leaders of allied countries in the Group of Seven, as Japan prepares to host an upcoming G7 summit in Hiroshima in May.

– Jihye Lee

After tanks, fighter jets? Ukraine pushes NATO allies for more weaponry

A Belgian F-16 fighter jet flies over Florennes Military Air Base, in Florennes, Belgium. Ukraine is believed to be keen on receiving combat aircraft like this from its allies.

Geert Vanden Wijngaert | AP

The dust has barely settled after the U.S. and Germany’s momentous decision on Wednesday but talk has already turned to the possible supply of other weaponry to Ukraine, specifically combat aircraft.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed his gratitude to Kyiv’s allies Wednesday, stating that the decision by the United States, Germany and Britain to send tanks to Ukraine was “historic.” He said he had also spoken to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg yesterday and during that call he called for more assistance.

“We have to unlock the supply of long-range missiles to Ukraine, it is important for us to expand our cooperation in artillery, we have to achieve the supply of aircraft to Ukraine. And this is a dream. And this is a task. An important task for all of us,” he said in his nightly address.

Ukraine has made no secret of the fact that it would like to receive fighter jets, such as the U.S.’ F-16s, from its allies to help it fight Russia, but there has been little positive response.

Having just achieved a diplomatic victory in achieving tanks, however, the focus is now on practical matters, with Zelenskyy saying just how many tanks Ukraine would be receiving is a key issue.

“The key thing now is speed and volume. The speed of training of our military, the speed of supplying tanks to Ukraine and the volume of tank support,” he said.

— Holly Ellyatt

Training for Abrams tanks will take place outside of Ukraine, White House says

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre (L) listens as National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby speaks during the daily briefing in the James S Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on August 1, 2022.

Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the Pentagon’s upcoming training for Ukrainians using the M1A1 Abrams tanks will take place outside of Ukraine.

Kirby said the U.S. has not yet decided on a specific location or timing for the training.

He also said that the Pentagon does not have extra tanks to pull from its current arsenal to provide for Ukraine.

“We just don’t have them,” Kirby said, adding that “even if there were excess tanks it would still take many months anyway.” He also declined to provide a timeline of when the M1A1 Abrams tanks would be ready for Ukrainian forces.

— Amanda Macias

Zelenskyy thanks Biden for Abrams tanks decision

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked U.S. President Joe Biden for his decision to provide Kyiv with 31 Abrams tanks as well as training and maintenance support.

Zelenskyy said the transfer of M1A1 Abrams tanks is, “an important step on the path to victory.”

“Today the free world is united as never before for a common goal – liberation of Ukraine,” he added.

— Amanda Macias

State Department denies reports outlining riff between Washington and Berlin over tanks for Ukraine

U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price holds a press briefing on Afghanistan at the State Department in Washington, August 16, 2021.

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

The State Department downplayed reports that Germany and the U.S. were at odds over whether to provide Ukraine with Leopard 2 and M1A1 Abrams tanks.

“Time and again, Germany has proven itself as a stalwart ally of the United States,” Price said, adding that Berlin and Washington have only had constructive discussions in the weeks leading up to the separate security assistance announcements.

Earlier on Wednesday, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced that Berlin would provide Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks.

Germany said its goal was to “quickly assemble two tank battalions with Leopard 2 tanks for Ukraine.” The country will supply 14 Leopard 2 A6 tanks in what it called a “first step.”

— Amanda Macias

U.S. will send Abrams tanks to Ukraine ahead of expected Russian offensive

A M1A2 SEP (V2) Abrams Main Battle Tank being unloaded in

Staff Sgt. Grady Jones | U.S. Army | Flickr CC

The Biden administration said it will equip Ukraine with the mighty M1A1 Abrams tank, a key reversal in the West’s effort to arm Kyiv as it prepares for a fresh Russian offensive.

The 31 M1A1 Abrams tanks, which amount to one Ukrainian tank battalion, will expand on the more than $26 billion the U.S. has committed to Kyiv’s fight since Russia invaded nearly a year ago.

The U.S. plans to purchase the new M1s using funds from the congressionally approved Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative.

It will “take some time” for the tanks to be delivered to Ukraine, a senior Biden administration official said Wednesday. “We are talking months as opposed to weeks,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Read the full story here.

— Amanda Macias

Russia furious that Western tanks will be given to Ukraine

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin speaks on the phone during a conversation with Agatha Bylkova from the Kurgan region, an 8-year-old participant of a New Year’s and Christmas charity event, in Moscow, Russia, January 3, 2023. 

Mikhail Klimentyev | Sputnik | Via Reuters

Russia expressed mounting fury at the prospect of modern Western tanks being sent to Ukraine, calling it “extremely dangerous” and saying previous “red lines” were now a thing of the past.

Germany announced earlier Wednesday that it was ready to send 14 Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine, and to allow other countries to send their own German-made tanks to Kyiv. The U.S. is also expected to announce imminently its own intention to send Abrams tanks to Ukraine.

The Russian Embassy in Berlin called the German government’s decision “extremely dangerous” and said it “takes the conflict to a new level of confrontation” while the foreign ministry warned that “red lines” were a “thing of the past” as it slammed what is saw as the West waging a “hybrid war” against Russia.

The use of modern Western tanks by Ukraine is likely to add momentum to its efforts to push Russian forces out of occupied areas of the country, particularly the eastern Donbas region, but Russia sees the gift of tanks as further evidence that the West is fighting what it sees as a proxy war against it in Ukraine.

Read more on the story here.

— Holly Ellyatt

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